EPA knew of possible Gold King Mine problems before toxic spill

KUSA – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency knew the Gold King Mine could blow out before it happened. 

In documents obtained by 9Wants to Know, the EPA knew the possibility the mine could have had a "blow-out of the blockages and cause a release of large volumes of contaminated mine waters and sediments from inside the mine, which contain concentrated heavy metals."

In May, the EPA had a work plan in place that would improve accessibility to the mine. It had also planned to dig into the blockage at the entrance to Gold King Mine from the top down, and drain any water trapped behind as they worked downward.

The EPA says Gold King Mine met the criteria for a removal action in June 2014.

It was aware the Gold King Mine could have had water backed up, and that the water could present an endangerment to human health, according to the report.

The cleanup was considered a time critical removal and the mine discharge was a "significant contributor of manganese, copper, zinc and cadmium into the Cement creek drainage of the Animas River watershed."

The full documents can be read at http://1.usa.gov/1hRdhbq

(© 2015 KUSA)


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